The scouting report on Luis Medina is well-known around the game, “throws hard but needs to harness the command.” Medina has been working diligently on improving his strike-throwing since coming up to Double-A in June and entering Thursday night’s matchup against Akron, the 22-year old righty had not walked a single batter in his previous two starts.
Medina ran his streak of not issuing a free-pass to 53 consecutive batters before issuing a two-out walk to Victor Nova in the third inning. Akron would work another walk in the fourth and one to lead off the fifth before Clark Scolamiero blasted a two-run homer off Medina to break-up his no-hit bid and effectively put the RubberDucks ahead 2-1 at the time.
“After that home run, it was impressive to see because he didn’t get rattled,” said Patriots manager Julio Mosquera. “That was something where he came back and made pitches after that and it was good to see.”
For the night, Medina allowed just two hits and walked four while striking out a career-high 12 batters on 90 pitches over 5 1/3 strong innings. Medina had fanned 11 Brooklyn batters back on May 20 when he was at Low-A Hudson Valley to set his previous career-best strikeout mark.
It was the best that I had seen Medina since arriving in Somerset, despite the homer blemishing his final line some. His fastball had great life and movement, his mechanics flowed impeccably and the secondary stuff was sharp and crisp and mostly around the plate. While he walked four batters, Medina wasn’t necessarily “wild” and when he did miss, it was often on pitches that narrowly missed the zone.
“My mentality is to always try and execute the first pitch,” said Medina through translation provided by Mosquera. “Make sure that I get ahead with a strike and just try to execute all of my pitches afterwards; keep the hitters off balance and just try to get them out. “If I can continue to focus every time and continue to have my command, I’m going to be able to do a lot of things and I will let my talent take me wherever as long as I get better at those things.”
“I think that his composure was really good today,” said Mosquera. “He went out and executed pitches; his mechanics were flawless today. I think that his body stayed under control, he was trying to attack hitters by going right after them. He wasn’t thinking too much; he is a young guy and he has a lot of stuff that he wants to do, but today he was solid. His concentration and his focus on the game and every pitch, it was legit.”
With only 21 games remaining on the regular season slate, Medina figures to have three starts remaining, should the current rotation continue to roll as presently aligned. Since opening the 2021 campaign at Hudson Valley and tearing through the league with video game-like numbers, his splits between the two levels have clearly shown a steep learning curve that the Dominican-native has been forced to endure. The good news is that he seems to be improving and getting better as the season progresses.
In seven starts with the Renegades, Medina fanned 50 batters in 31 innings and held the opposition to a 2.76 ERA and a .162 batting average before a well-deserved promotion to Somerset in Mid-June. Since then, Medina has compiled a 4.59 ERA with 58 strikeouts over 50 innings of work. Double-A Northeast league competition is hitting nearly 100 points better against him with a .253 average against.
“He understands that in Hudson Valley he was facing a lower level of hitter where he could get away with a lot of stuff” explained Mosquera. “Over here I think that he is maturing a lot and he is understanding that the competition is going to get harder and harder and when you make mistakes and give guys a chance, you’re going to pay for it – I think that he is realizing that. When you face lower level hitters you can get away with really good stuff like he does. You can get away with it because guys are not that selective at the plate and I think that is something that he understands now.”
Mosquera added “Every time that he goes out there he is trying to do his best. He is attacking hitters and keeping the ball around home plate. I’s working for him right now and hopefully he is growing; I can see that and hopefully he continues to take off from here.”